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Contributed by ProNatural Brands

A cleaning topic rarely discussed is how hard water negatively impacts cleaning.  And because an estimated 85 percent of the United States has slightly to extremely hard water, this can affect the entire cleaning industry.

"The Midwest is hammered when it comes to hard water," says Lee Chen, president and COO of ProNatural Brands, LLC, manufacturers of natural, sustainable, citrus-based cleaning solutions. 

"Among the most impacted states are Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, large parts of Texas, Montana, Nevada, and Idaho."

As to what hard water is, Chen explains it is water with a high mineral count. Among the minerals commonly found in hard water are calcium, magnesium, bicarbonates, and sulfates.

"When it comes to cleaning, these minerals are problematic," says Chen.

"They react with some traditional cleaning solutions, minimizing their effectiveness, can scratch surfaces such as glass and polished metal, and leaves soap scum buildup, which can be difficult to remove."

According to Chen, citrus-based cleaning solutions can address this challenge because they naturally have what are termed chelating agents (pronounced kee-lat-ing). 

One of the benefits of a chelating agent is that they soften water, allowing for more foam to be produced when cleaning surfaces and adjusting the pH of the water. The result is improved overall cleaning effectiveness.

"This also means less water may be needed," adds Chen. "Because so many states with hard water are now experiencing chronic drought conditions, any steps we take to reduce water use has large-scale benefits for entire communities."